The Campaign Spot

Getting Your Head Around the Renewable-Energy Pledge

“We will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.”

Hmmm. According to the Department of Energy, in 2007, the U.S. consumed 6.8 quadrillion BTUs of energy from renewable sources, out of 101 quadrillion BTUs. In 2003, we used 6.15 quadrillion in alternative energy, out of 98.2 quadrillion. (Usage from alternative sources actually peaked in 2006, at 6.92 quadrillion.) In other words, over a five-year span, it barely increased.
Let’s assume the 2008 level was at 6.8 quadrillion. This would mean the U.S. would need 13.6 quadrillion BTUs from renewable sources by 2011.

Remember this for the reelection campaign.

UPDATE: From a reader: “The numbers you cite are for consumption. He said we would double the supply. Nobody at all needs to actually use it to fulfill his pledge. Acres and acres of idly twirling windmills (in Massachusetts?), solar panels glistening across the fruited plain, more of our food supply dedicated to ethanol.”

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